Ancient Indian petroglyphs (symbols carved or pecked on rocks) and pictographs (rock paintings) are claimed by some to be forms of writing for which meanings are known. But are such claims supported by archaeology or by Native Americans? Dart illustrates how petroglyph and pictograph styles changed through time and over different regions of the American Southwest prehistorically and historically, and discusses how even the same rock art symbol may be interpreted differently from popular, scientific, and modern Native American perspectives.
Allen (“Al”) Dart holds a master’s degree in anthropology from The University of Arizona and is a Registered Professional Archaeologist who has worked and volunteered in Arizona and New Mexico archaeology since 1975. He currently serves as a State Cultural Resources Specialist/Archaeologist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and as the Executive Director of the Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, a Tucson non-profit organization that he founded in 1993 to provide educational and scientific programs in Southwestern archaeology and cultures. Dart is a recipient of the Arizona Governor’s Award in Public Archaeology and the Arizona Archaeological Society’s Professional Archaeologist of the Year Award for his efforts to bring archaeology and history to the public.